October 30, 2015


CONTACT: Darrell Dawsey, ACLU of Michigan, 313-578-6831;

DETROIT—As part of the ACLU of Michigan’s ongoing effort to end unconstitutional debtors’ prisons in Michigan, attorneys for the organization are slated to appear in Macomb County Circuit Court on Monday morning to urge the court to stop an Eastpointe judge from continuing to jail poor defendants for their inability to pay fines.

The hearing stems from an ACLU of Michigan request that the circuit court take “superintending control” over the 38th District Court and order Judge Carl F. Gerds to end his unconstitutional pay-or-stay sentencing practice. 

As detailed in the ACLU’s pleadings, pay-or-stay sentences are unconstitutional unless the judge makes a determination that the defendant has the financial ability to pay.  The ACLU brought the case for superintending control after Judge Gerds was advised that this practice was unconstitutional but continued to jail defendants without evaluating their ability to pay.

WHAT: Hearing on ACLU of Michigan request to end illegal pay-or-stay sentencing in 38th District Court

WHEN: Monday, November 2, 8:30 a.m.

WHERE: Macomb County Circuit Court (4th Floor Courtroom of Judge James Maceroni),  40 N Main St, Mt Clemens, MI 48043